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STL entrepreneur set to appear on 'Shark Tank'

STL entrepreneur set to appear on 'Shark Tank'

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Akeem Shannon

STL inventor and entrepreneur Akeem Shannon. (Photo by Flipstik.com)

STL inventor and entrepreneur Akeem Shannon will be showing his wares later this week on "Shark Tank."

Shannon, who invented the "Flipstik" in 2017, will appear on the show at 7 p.m. Friday on KDNL (Channel 30).

Flipstik is a device that attaches to the back of a cellphone, as a kickstand of sorts, that allows a user to place the phone on most flat surfaces for hands-free use.

A graduate of De Smet Jesuit High, Shannon attended Howard University to study chemical engineering. But according to his website, he lost his full scholarship to the university.

So Shannon returned to St. Louis and pivoted to sales, working with several telecom companies and with Square.

Then in 2017, after a conversation with his NASA-engineer uncle, Shannon invented the Flipstik. His product went on sale in late 2018 at the St. Louis Galleria and West County Mall.

Last week, Post-Dispatch business columnist David Nicklaus reported that Shannon was one of 19 local new-business startups to receive a $50,000 Arch Grant.

The nonprofit Arch Grants has awarded more than $9 million to 173 companies since 2012. Those companies have created more than 1,900 jobs and attracted at least $290 million in follow-on investments.

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